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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 9, No. 24 6/14/2002

 

SUPREME COURT
<align=center>DECLINES TO HEAR EMERSON CASE

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States declined without comment to hear U.S. v. Emerson. And while the decision is bad news for the defendant, the non-ruling in the Emerson case does mean that the 5th Circuit Court’s finding that the Second Amendment protects an individual right will stand. Furthermore, when the Bush Department of Justice (DOJ) submitted its Emerson briefs, it included statements that our Right to Keep and Bear Arms is clearly an individual right protected by the Constitution, which can also be used in legal arguments against unconstitutional gun control laws. As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox explained to The New York Times, NRA was not concerned with the Supreme Court’s lack of decisive action, as "our client is the Second Amendment." Cox went on to say, "The Second Amendment won" when the Bush Administration made clear it supports the correct view that the right to arms is an individual, protected right.

OHIO SUPREME COURT
<align=center>REVIVES CINCINNATI RECKLESS LAWSUIT

 

On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned an appellate court ruling that had dismissed the City of Cincinnati’s reckless lawsuit against law-abiding gun manufacturers. And while some might interpret this as a victory for the gun-ban movement (see story on HCI), the decision simply means this baseless case may proceed to trial. Justice Francis Sweeney made clear that the 4-3 ruling should not be any indication of the possible success of the suit, stating, "[W]e do not predict the outcome of this case...." And the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) pointed out in its press release on the ruling, "This decision merely provides the city with an opportunity, through discovery, to try to prove its outrageous accusations. The court did not rule on the validity or merit of those allegations."

NSSF also indicated the case could still be thrown out for violating a recently-enacted state reckless lawsuit preemption law, and there are also signs the Cincinnati suit may simply be dropped. The city’s mayor has indicated he wants to reassess whether the city should proceed. NSSF Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane, commenting on Wednesday, said, "Today’s decision, while obviously disappointing, puts Cincinnati in the same position Boston was three years ago. In the end, Cincinnati will conclude, as Boston before it, that this industry has a long-standing and genuine commitment to further reducing accidents and to working cooperatively with law enforcement in its efforts to combat the criminal and accidental misuse of firearms." Boston, you will recall, put an end to its own nearly three-year harassment campaign against law-abiding gun makers in March when it moved to dismiss its own baseless suit, realizing it simply could not win and could not afford to continue to waste tax-payer dollars.

KEEP TELLING YOUR SENATORS
<align=center>TO OPPOSE ATTACKS ON GUN SHOWS...

 

As reported last week, we anticipate the gun control lobby that calls itself "Americans for Gun Safety" (AGS) will try to force a vote in the Senate on its anti-gun show bill, S. 890, some time between now and Independence Day. S. 890 is designed to run gun shows out of business through a variety of registration and licensing schemesùand is clearly the first step toward the true goal of banning all legal private sales, including those between friends and family.

It is critical that you contact your U.S. Senators today and urge them to oppose S. 890 when it is brought up for consideration. You can reach your U.S. Senators by calling the U.S. Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Just ask for your Senators’ offices, or give the operator your state. For additional contact information, use our "Write Your Reps" tool.

 

...AND REMIND ALL LAWMAKERS
<align=center>TO SUPPORT ARMING PILOTS

 

There are two bills in Congress that would provide for the arming of properly trained flight deck crew—mandating programs that would allow properly trained commercial airline pilots and other flight deck crew to have access to firearms as a last line of defense against terrorist hijackers. H.R. 4635 has 46 co-sponsors, and S. 2554 has 11. The Senate bill would also provide self-defense training for flight attendants. Please contact your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge them to co-sponsor these bills. Those on the Internet can find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Reps" tool.

HCI LOSING TOUCH WITH REALITY?

It seems the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI (a.k.a. the Brady Campaign or Brady Center) is either in a deep state of denial, or has simply lost touch with reality. The organization regularly tries to deny that Democratic candidates are trying to distance themselves from HCI`s anti-gun agenda, even though the vast majority of political pundits and media outlets (even those that are anti-gun) have been pointing out this fact since the 2000 elections. But HCI’s spin on this week’s court decisions is further proof of the group having abandoned any semblance of rationality.

Although Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States is far from ground-breaking, a press release from the gun-ban lobby makes the outrageous claim the non-ruling is a "Major Blow to NRA’s Extremist View of the Second Amendment." And while it boggles the mind trying to determine how the organization came to such a wild conclusion, what’s more mind-boggling is the group labeling as "extremist" a view held by the overwhelming majority of America’s voters. Last week we reported that a Zogby International poll found 75% of American voters shared the correct view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. The idea that HCI finds a view held by tens-of-millions of Americans to be "extremist" just goes to show how out of step with the general public the group has become.

And if declaring the majority of American voters hold"extremist" views is not enough proof that HCI no longer exercises common sense or restraint when issuing its outlandish rhetoric, the spin the group tried to put on the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling on the Cincinnati reckless lawsuit should remove all doubt. The organization is calling the close 4-3 ruling the "greatest legal victory yet against the gun industry." But as was pointed out in the earlier story on this ruling, it barely qualifies as a victory—as the case may still be dropped or rejected, and, if it proceeds, it is likely to lose—and if HCI is reduced to considering it the "greatest legal victory," then the organization’s supporters should be truly concerned.

Then again, this isn’t the first time the gun-ban lobby has made such bizarre claims. In 1999, HCI called an appellate court ruling in California that allowed another reckless lawsuit to proceed a "historic victory" that would have "far-reaching implications" for similar suits. That case was thrown out two years later by the California Supreme Court. So much for HCI’s prognosticating skills.

Even some long-time supporters of HCI’s agenda are now having to question the group’s rhetoric. A June 7 editorial in the Washington Post—a paper that openly supports most gun-control proposals as part of its editorial policy—has taken the gun-ban lobby to task over its involvement in the Maryland gubernatorial race. Recently, the organization began running radio ads as part of its campaign to help elect Maryland’s anti-gun gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D). The ads—which another Post article from June 13 refers to as "the opening salvo of a planned $250,000 campaign"—feature HCI president Mike Barnes claiming Townsend’s Republican opponent, U.S. Representative Robert Ehrlich, Jr., has an "extremist record" when it comes to firearms. But the Post’s editorial points out that, while "Mr. Ehrlich’s record on gun issues is not one that we embrace," his "record is...fairly mainstream." And the article from June 13 indicates that the HCI/Barnes ad is quite misleading—although dishonest may be a better word—when it comes to representing Ehrlich’s record.

The Townsend campaign claims it was not involved with the HCI attack ads, but it has yet to comment on HCI’s use of the "extremist" label when discussing her opponent. Does Townsend support HCI’s position that Representative Ehrlich has an "extremist record" on guns? And do all of HCI’s supporters, including those lawmakers who regularly introduce or promote HCI-endorsed legislation, share the gun-ban lobby’s view that the belief the Second Amendment protects an individual right is an "extremist view"? The vast majority of American voters—75%, to be exact—would certainly like to know who considers their views to be "extremist."

 

NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS
<align=center>ELECTION WORKSHOPS

 

In preparation for the upcoming campaign season, NRA-ILA is hosting FREE Grassroots-Election Workshops in several areas across the country. The next two events will be held tomorrow, June 15—one in Orlando, Florida, and one in Dearborn, Michigan. Three Workshops will take place in California—in Sacramento on July 9, Fresno on July 11, and San Diego on July 13. Two more Workshops are scheduled for Kansas, with the first in Wichita on July 11, and the second in Overland Park on July 13. And in South Dakota, Workshops will be held in Rapid City on July 15, and in Pierre on July 17. At these Workshops, you will learn what you can do in your own community to ensure pro-gun candidates are elected to office this election season. NRA members who are interested in attending should contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at (800) 392-8683 for details and to reserve their spots. NRA members can also reserve their spots on-line.

 

NOMINATIONS BEING ACCEPTED
<align=center>FOR 2001 NRA-ILA VOLUNTEER AWARDS

The "Jay M. Littlefield Memorial NRA-ILA Volunteer of the Year Award" is an annual honor that recognizes an NRA member who demonstrates exceptionally meritorious activism in defense of our Second Amendment rights. Similarly, the "NRA-ILA Volunteer Organization of the Year Award" is bestowed upon a group that has gone above and beyond the call of duty in defending our freedoms over the past year. Nominations for these honors for last year (2001) should be submitted to: NRA-ILA Volunteer Awards, c/o Chris Manthos, NRA-ILA Grassroots Division, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030. They can also be faxed to Chris at (703) 267-3918. All nominations must be submitted by NRA members in good standing and accompanied by a one page description of why the nominated individual or organization is deserving. Winners will be selected by NRA-ILA staff, and will be acknowledged at this year’s Fall Board of Directors Meeting. The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2002.

 

A LOOK AT THE STATES

NEW JERSEY:

Mark Your Calendars! The New Jersey Chapter of the Second Amendment Sisters will host its Rally and Funfest on Sunday, July 28, from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Nomehegan Park in Cranford (near Kenilworth, off the Garden State Parkway). Join fellow gun owners and sportsmen for a day of trap and skeet shooting, music, speakers, paintball, frisbee, and a picnic! Let’s show our support for this family fun day! Be sure to tell your friends and family about this pro-Second Amendment event! For more information, please contact Marilyn Lapidus at (908) 879-9089 or at TheFramer@outdrs.net.

PENNSYLVANIA:

Attention all gun owners and Second Amendment supporters in the Pittsburgh area! The Pittsburgh City Council recently approved preliminary zoning changes that would prohibit gun sales in certain parts of the city. The Council will conduct a final vote on this dangerous proposal Tuesday, June 18. If you live in the Pittsburgh area, contact your city council member immediately and ask him to vote "NO" on these zoning changes! You may reach your council member by calling the Pittsburgh City Clerk’s Office at 412-255-2138.

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.